The Sun newspaper is the unabashed gut of England's gutter press. It is the home of the infamous page 3 topless model and delights in publishing such enlightened articles as "10 Ways To Spot If Your Vicar Is A Pooftah." It is, of course, the butt of countless jokes based mainly on the claim that the phrase "Sun reader" is an oxymoron.

It regularly runs readers' polls, usually along the lines of should paedophiles be hung, drawn and quartered, although I don't know why they bother - the result is normally a resounding "hanging is too good for them."

I have to say "normally" because sometimes the unexpected does happen. A week ago, following the resignation of a cabinet minister because of an alleged expenses fiddle involving the rent on his male partner's apartment, they asked the question, "Should gay people be cabinet ministers?"

This was the result of the poll:

Just 5% of Sun readers (oxymoron?) believe that being gay should be an impairment to holding high office in Britain. That, in my opinion, is a wonderful eye-opener and overwhelming proof that, for the vast majority of the working class people of my country, there really isn't a "gay question" anymore. The logic employed by Sun readers isn't what you would call complex, and so I think it can be assumed that pretty much any question regarding the equality of gay people in England would be answered with the same "it doesn't bother me" response. For your ordinary Brit (excluding Northern Ireland), gayness has become ordinary.

It does, of course, throw up a huge question. Why is the leader of the so-called Church of England so out of step with the people of England? Why does he appear to take more notice of the beliefs of the readers of the New Vision newspaper of Uganda than the readers of the Sun newspaper of England? Does the spiritual head of England's national church really believe that 95% of the working class people he has a duty of care for, are going to hell in a handcart because they have worked out that love is love wherever it is found?

This is weird. In the USA it is difficult to persuade 50% of the adult population to vote in favour of measures that would give more equality to gay people, and the appointment of gay officials, teachers and the like, still elicits substantial, vocal and downright nasty opposition. Yet US churches are steadily, and more and more rapidly, embracing the concept that same sex relationships are not, automatically, sinful. In fact, the churches are among the leaders in the campaign for gay equality in the States. But in England, the Church of England, is still aggressively attached to an illogical moral position that has been decisively deemed ridiculous by even the most conservative (with a small "c") UK (excluding Northern Ireland) citizens.

Rowan Williams has become the man trapped on the roof of his house refusing to be rescued from the flood because he is waiting for God to rescue him. But in Williams' case, he is the man who refuses to listen to the voices of virtually every one in his country because he is waiting to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit. I am sure you can work out the punchline for yourselves.



  1. Opinion about gays and gay relationships is changing very rapidly in the USA, even among men, as this column from the NY Times points out:

    I’m predicting that all the catastrophic scenarios predicted for the integration of gays into the military will turn out to be as true as those predicted for the integration of blacks and the integration of women.
    When that integration comes to pass, expect opinion on gays in the USA to change even more profoundly. The homophobes can look forward to a future in which they will find themselves in the marginalized status they would assign to gay people.

  2. Sorry, I can’t work out the punchline but I have a little poem instead:

    Rowan Williams was trapped on the roof
    And I tell you he looked a right goof!
    “This will all go away
    Then no one will be gay”
    He’s a nutter, (if you needed some proof).

  3. oh, Counterlight beat me to it. Go see that article on attitudes in the US. I was going to post it here as an example of comparable (though slower) change in the US.

  4. “Or we could all talk about England for a change.”

    O MP, you make me laugh! England, give yourselves a pat on the back. You deserve it.

  5. It reflects a complete lack of interest in politicians, gays and pretty much anything that doesn’t involve a football. And that, believe me, is fucking fantastic. Disinterest is the best possible basis for equality.

  6. We do speak of England occasionally, but yes, that other place all the more. You know your blog’s stats, is it because there are more of them here than there are the rest of us? Are there more IPs from there? Or do just a tiny few manage to turn this great ship almost every single time?

    Perhaps the ABC is of the same mind as John Sandman. Here was his response to me at Preludium.
    John Sandeman / Obadiah Slope said…
    Unsurprisingly, David, I do not see the contradiction you do. Behind your comment is the idea of progressive revelation. The parts of the Anglican Communion have lacked modern communication teach what traditional Christianity has taught.
    *To argue that they are deficient in their Christianity by being cut off from some recent developments, is to assume that revelation is progressive – that for example that TEC is led by the Spirit into its new ways.

    Perhaps Rowan Tree is convinced along with the Orthodites that the Holy Spirit could not possibly be leading TEC, or any of the rest of us, to a new understanding, of anything.

    Conservative Campbellites, among others, believe that once the Bible was available, there was no further need of any action by the Holy Spirit. They prooftext that belief with the Pauline pericope 1 Cor 13:10, that states “when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall cease.” So the Gospel once delivered to the Saints is here, and there is no further need of the Spirit. Bestowing the Spirit in our initiation rites is then a dead ritual. It no longer has any meaning or significance in our lives.

    *That is a total fabrication. I said nothing of the sort. But he is prone to do that. Always.

  7. To claim perfection before the return of Christ and the coming of the kingdom of God is BLASPHEMY! Anyone who claims such a thing for this world should be burnt alive.

  8. “Anyone who claims such a thing.. should be burnt alive.”

    Oh, I see that we are back to talking about England again, then.


  9. Stonewall (the gay activist lobby group) did research in 2008 where they interviewed Christians, Muslims, Jewish people and Hindus in the north of England and found most of them likewise didn’t think it mattered whether someone was gay or not. Stonewall said this showed religious leaders are out of touch with what people of their faiths actually believe and should try harder. It’s a really interesting report –